This easy stovetop mac and cheese recipe is made with creamy, pure pumpkin and is the ultimate vegetarian pasta recipe!
Pumpkin season is in full force but if I’m being totally honest, we love cooking with pumpkin all year round. Whether it’s in a creamy smoothie, a batch of breakfast cookies or a warm bowl of oatmeal, pumpkin is a versatile, delicious and nutritious ingredient.
With school in session, I’m always trying to come up with new make-ahead lunch ideas that not only taste great when I cook them but are great for reheating throughout the week. This stovetop pumpkin mac and cheese takes just 15 minutes to put together and is made with a handful of staples including whole wheat pasta, whole milk, shredded cheese and flour.
If the thought of pumpkin in your mac and cheese makes you want to run for the hills, I urge you to try it just once! Pure, unsweetened pumpkin is thick and creamy, ideal for whisking together with a homemade white sauce and sharp cheddar cheese. The great thing about cooking with pumpkin this time of year is that you can likely source it locally at a farm stand or farmers market. Personally, I prefer the canned pumpkin since it’s a huge time saver but you’re welcome to make your own pumpkin puree.
While this might surprise you, pumpkin isn’t the only locally sourced ingredient in this dish. The milk you buy for this mac and cheese is most likely from a farm near your neighborhood, contributing to the farm-to-table movement. In fact, not only is milk produced in every state, but most milk travels an average of only 300 miles from farm to store.
To bring out the flavors of the entire dish, I like to add a pinch of nutmeg. That said, this is not a sweet “pumpkin spice” recipe. It is savory, hearty and comforting – everything you love about mac and cheese!
Your fork is waiting.
Stovetop Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Prepare pasta according to package instructions reducing the cook time by 1 minute to ensure al dente pasta; set aside.
- In a medium stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes whisking frequently.
- Slowly pour in milk, salt and nutmeg. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Whisk constantly until sauce begins to thicken. This may take up to 5 minutes.
- Once the white sauce has thickened, stir in shredded cheese and pumpkin. Mix until melted, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add reserved pasta to the pot and stir until noodles are evenly coated. Check for seasoning and add additional salt or pepper to taste. Serve immediately.